Happy New Year

Happy New Year to all Syria Comment readers, to those who comment, send in bits of news, and to the many who do not comment. Thanks also to those who write for SC and who send me their stories to post or link to. And thanks to the reporters whom I have come to know and who work to understand Syria in its many aspects. I am sure I learn as much from them as they do from me. Syria is always a contentious story. Syria Comment tries to report on all aspects of Syria and to accommodate all views.

Happy New Year to all, Joshua

Comments (105)

Norman said:


Happy new year to you and your family , may God continue to bless you and protect you and your family in the year 2011 and beyond ,

January 1st, 2011, 1:24 am


Norman said:

This might explain the appointment of ford,

US in secret talks with Syria over peace deal with Israel: report
Jan 1, 2011, 10:32 GMT

Kuwait City – The United States has been in secret contact with Syrian officials in the hopes of realizing a comprehensive Israel-Syrian peace treaty, the Kuwaiti al-Rai newspaper reported Saturday.

The past few weeks had witnessed an ‘unprecedented Syrian cooperation’ in the peace process, prompting Washington to talk with Syrian officials to reach a peace agreement between Syria and Israel, informed sources told al-Rai.

Sources said Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem had sent positive signals to the US showing that ‘the Syrians are ready to re- engage in dialogue with the Israelis to reach peace’.

President Barack Obama’s administration believes that an Israeli- Syrian peace agreement will be ‘a breakthrough in the peace process as a whole to achieve peace in the Palestinian territories’.

Sources said that Obama adviser Denis Ross told the US administration that he found ‘Syria ready to move away from Iran and reduce relations with Hezbollah and Hamas, and work with the United States in the fight against terrorism.’

The Israelis, for their part, expressed a willingness to return to Syria the occupied Golan Heights, reach an agreement on water rights, and normalise relations with Damascus.

Syrian demands the return of the Golan, a strategic plateau overlooking northern Israel, as a prerequisite for any peace deal with the Jewish state.

Israel captured the Golan in the 1967 war, and in 1981 parliament passed a law applying Israeli ‘laws, jurisdiction and administration’ to the territory, in effect annexing it.

The annexation was not recognised internationally.

Direct Israeli-Syrian peace talks fell apart in 2000, over a dispute over Syrian access to the Sea of Galilee, as per the de facto border which existed prior to the 1967 war.

Turkish mediated Israeli-Syrian talks also failed to produce any breakthrough.

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January 1st, 2011, 7:50 am


Murhaf Jouejati said:

Josh, Happy New Year to you and yours.

January 1st, 2011, 11:34 am


Norman said:

09:27, December 30, 2010

Syria, India inaugurate joint informatics center in Damascus
Syria and India inaugurated here Wednesday the Syrian-Indian Center for Informatics, local official SANA news agency reported.

SANA quoted Syrian Prime Minister Mohammad Naji Otri as saying the center is an additional step to enhance informatics’ role in all of life’s aspects within the frame of development and modernization that Syria witnesses.

The center which has cost 3 million U.S. dollars includes three training scientific labs, a library, data center and other equipment to rehabilitate 600 trainees for two years. The center is the first of its kind in Syria, said the report.

The project comes within the framework of the technological cooperation between Damascus and New Delhi.

Indian President Pratibha Patil visited Syria in November, during which she inaugurated the Syrian-Indian Business Council. She also held talks with her Syrian counterpart Bashar al-Assad over bilateral relationships.

Source: Xinhua

Copyright by People’s Daily Online, All Rights Reserved

January 1st, 2011, 2:50 pm


Averroes said:

Happy New Year, Dr. Landis, and thank you for continuing to uphold SyriaComment. HNY to all.

January 1st, 2011, 5:34 pm


Alex said:

Happy New Year Dr. Landis and to all the wonderful readers of Syria Comment.

January 1st, 2011, 6:43 pm


Norman said:

Shai, Alex, What do you think , ?

Search for: Go Home About Archives Contact Volunteer Ashkenazi to focus on peace with Syria after retirement, report
January 2, 2011 ⋅ 1:38 am ⋅ Post a comment
Filed Under Hamas, Hezbollah, Iran, Israel, Lebanon, Syria

According to a report by the Israeli Haaretz newspaper , Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi will end his career in the Israel Defense Forces this February and go charging after the next objective: peace with Syria.

Haartez reported that in ” his four years as chief of the general staff, Ashkenazi gave few interviews and carefully refrained from making any controversial statements. These constraints will be removed once he is out of the military.”

Ashkenazi according to Haaretz has dual motivations – national and personal.

On the national level, he wants to rescue Israel from the diplomatic status quo and prevent a dangerous war with Iran. A peace agreement with Syrian President Bashar Assad, which would remove Syria from the Iranian circle of influence and weaken Hezbollah, seems to the retiring IDF chief to be the most effective way to improve Israel’s strategic situation. Ashkenazi fears for the country’s future should Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu continue his policy of marching in place; it reminds him of Golda Meir’s complacency before the 1973 Yom Kippur War.

On a personal level, Ashkenazi was hurt by the manner in which his term has been brought to a close. He believed, and probably still believes, that the document allegedly fabricated by his friend Lt. Col. (res. ) Boaz Harpaz described reality faithfully; that Defense Minister Ehud Barak and his aides laid a media and political ambush for him, to get Maj. Gen. Yoav Galant appointed in his place. First they depicted Ashkenazi as a power-hungry chief of staff who wanted his tenure extended for a fifth year, and then as an insubordinate.

From Ashkenazi’s standpoint, Netanyahu supported the pranks of the defense minister and his court. Upon his release from military service, it will be time for a reckoning. Ashkenazi will portray Netanyahu and Barak as a pair of irresponsible adventurers, who could very well lead the country to disaster. The combination of a diplomatic stalemate and a willingness to take military risks, which characterizes both the prime minister and defense minister, has the chief of staff very concerned.

With the imminent retirement of both Ashkenazi and the like-minded Mossad chief Meir Dagan, the restraints keeping the political echelon in check will be gone. Under such circumstances, particularly when the country is entering a campaign season, the dangers of entanglement increase.

Ring of threats

Ashkenazi is troubled by the ring of threats facing Israel and the growing strength of Iran and its allies – Syria, Hezbollah and Hamas. He shares the assessments of the outgoing head of Military Intelligence, Amos Yadlin, that the next war will be waged in Tel Aviv and that the homefront will be hit by thousands of missiles and rockets. But the solution, in Ashkenazi’s opinion, is not an attack on the nuclear facilities in Natanz and Bushehr, but rather a diplomatic initiative for a peace agreement with Syria.

The price of this deal is known: withdrawal from the Golan Heights in return for security arrangements and normalized relations. For Israel, this is a price worth paying in order to break the “Iranian axis” and bring Syria closer to the West. Even if Syria does not undertake to distance itself from Iran, it would alter its behavior following a peace treaty with Israel. A pro-American Syria would not supply arms to Hezbollah, nor would it sponsor the Palestinian rejectionist groups. Instead of bolstering Irans influence, it would join the moderate camp. The outcome would be wider security margins for Israel.

The rules that stipulate a three-year cooling-off period for retiring generals before they can enter politics prevent Ashkenazi from running in the next elections, but they do not restrict his public activity. Raising the banner of peace with Syria would give him an edge over other candidates looking to lead the country.

There is barely any discussion in Israel today on the issue of the Golan Heights. Netanyahu is oblivious to Assad’s tentative peace overtures, and is focused on a diplomatic battle to block the Palestinians and their patron, U.S. President Barack Obama. The defense minister has mumbled something about reviving the Syrian track, but did not fight for his position and instead conformed to that held by Netanyahu.

The Israel-Syria Peace Society, which was founded by former Foreign Ministry director-general Alon Liel, maintains a low public profile and is in desparate need of a well-known and popular leader. The retired major general Uri Saguy, known as “Mr. Syria,” who has been preaching for an agreement with Damascus’ rulers for the past two decades, largely operates behind the scenes. One may conjecture that Ashkenazi is attentive to the opinions held by Saguy, his ex-commander in the Golani Brigade.

The call for peace with Syria will give Ashkenazi a public “niche” that has no rivals, and make it easier for him to build his political brand. Everyone will know what Ashkenazi stands for and where he is heading, while his opponents – first and foremost Barak and Netanyahu – present vague positions shrouded in double meanings. The ban on running in the next elections will work in Ashkenazi’s favor: He will be freed from the constraints of the primary elections and of the need to kowtow to wheeler-dealers and activists, and come across as a national and statesmanlike figure who operates outside of and above the partisan fray.

Even if Ashkenazi pushed for strategic moderation in closed-door sessions, the public sees him as the ultimate military man, who rehabilitated the IDF after its dreadful performance in the Second Lebanon War and led it to victory over Hamas in Operation Cast Lead, almost without incurring any losses. Obviously if he calls for a withdrawal from the Golan he will be attacked from the right for being conciliatory, and the image he has enjoyed until now will suffer in part. Still, the Golan lobby, headed by Effi Eitam, will not be able to paint Ashkenazi as the new Yossi Beilin; his military record will set him apart from previous peace movement leaders.

Status quo over concessions

There is another advantage to the Syrian track: It does not address any fundamental questions related to national identity – Jerusalem, the Jewish state, Palestinian refugees’ “right of return.” At issue is agreement on a border and new security arrangements with a known and stable government, which for decades has proved its meticulousness in adhering to the separation of forces agreement on the Golan Heights.

Attempts to reach an Israeli-Syrian peace have failed until now because both countries preferred the tense status quo in relations over the option of mutual concessions. Israel did not want to withdraw to Lake Kinneret; Syria did not agree to recognize Israel publicly. But now, with both sides fearing instability, all that could change. Israel is afraid of Iran, which is developing nuclear weapons and has deployed missile and rocket systems in Lebanon and the Gaza Strip. Syria is worried about Iranian influence in Lebanon growing even stronger.

On the domestic front, Ashkenazi is heading into civilian life with Netanyahu and his government sliding down the slippery slope to the next elections. A “peace with Syria” campaign on Ashkenazi’s part would merely underscore the prime minister’s attachment to the status quo and his rejection of every initiative and diplomatic move. The more frequently Netanyahu is kicked around by his coalition partners – Barak, Shas and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman – the more supporters there will be for the fresh message of the discharged IDF chief, who will present a way out of the deadlock.

Historically, the successful revolutionaries in Israeli politics have come from positions of inferiority. Menachem Begin was the eternal electoral loser. Rabbi Ovadia Yosef was booted off the Chief Rabbinate throne. Ariel Sharon was ousted from the Defense Ministry. Begin made peace with Egypt and built 100 settlements in the West Bank. Yosef founded the Shas Party. Sharon reconquered the West Bank and evacuated Gush Katif.

Ashkenazi is exiting the office of the IDF chief of staff an embittered man. Like Begin, Yosef and Sharon, he too will want to defeat his rivals and prove that he was right and they were wrong. Like them, Ashkenazi is also accompanied by a successful campaign manager, IDF spokesman Avi Benayahu, and a band of loyalists. The call for peace with Syria will be his ladder to the top of the public arena.

View Comments for “Ashkenazi to focus on peace with Syria after retirement, report”

January 1st, 2011, 8:49 pm


Yossi said:

Happy new year Alex, Joshua, Norman and the gang.


These are really great news. The Haaretz report seems to have come directly from Ashkenazi and is not a speculation on behalf of the reporter. The previous COS Halutz also said something similar. However, since both are now just politicians vying for position in the center of Israeli politics, they could ditch this approach as soon as they learn it’s not popular and not going to boost them in the public. Still, we can hope that these declarations will have good commulative effect on the Israeli public.

January 1st, 2011, 9:12 pm


Norman said:

Hi Yossi ,

Happy new year to you and your family , it is so nice to see you here again , it would be nice if you contribute more , I am hopping that wisdom and common sense will prevail and peace will be reached in the Mideast,between Israel and all her neighbours,

Ashkenazi might be what is needed in Israel , a leader that has the vision to lead instead of being led by public opinion ,

January 1st, 2011, 9:38 pm


Akbar Palace said:

KSA is the source of all evil


Not one to use Antiwar.com, but we “Israel-Firsters” knew this at a long time ago.

You should have been more receptive;)


January 1st, 2011, 10:48 pm


Norman said:

And what happened to you since then you lost your direction and pointed your hate at Syria , the one that is standing in the way of Islamic extremism , wake up ,or may be you just found your way again , can i hope?.

January 1st, 2011, 11:33 pm


Mick said:


Are you seriously quoting Al-Rai???

I’m not one that normally approves of government statements, as they are mostly lies, but the SANA quip in response to this nonsense is more likely reality.


Bashar has said a gazillion times lasting peace in the region won’t come while people continue to battle over putting various groups on your good side or bad side. The Al Rai article, like every other article I’ve seen produced by them on Syria, is a complete fabrication.

January 1st, 2011, 11:51 pm


Norman said:


i do not know that the AL Rai said anything new , Syria always said that she wants a lasting peace in the Mideast that secure the return of the Golan and a just settlement for the Palestinians that secure their rights and the return of Arab lands occupied in 1967 , the whole thing might be a trial balloon by Dennis Ross to get back in the game , as it is explained here ,


January 2nd, 2011, 12:05 am


Shai said:

Happy 2011 to all!


Indeed it is good news about Ashkenazi, although I don’t see him a political leader so quickly. There are rumors, as you quoted up above, that secret talks are under way between the U.S. and Syria. It is no coincidence that certain Israelis are starting to come out with the Syria option. Netanyahu and Abbas have reached a dead-end. It will be a while until the Palestinian track could be restarted. History has shown us that after attempts at peace have failed, a perfect environment for war takes over. It is an extremely unstable period, which all sides both want and don’t want to break.

The only viable option is the Syrian-Isareli one. It is the only one that is 80% or 90% done, sitting on the shelf ready for its takers. If Netanyahu sent messages to Syria, they’re about the Golan, not about restarting talks for the sake of talking. I’m sure Syria is ready to promise Israel a change in the (military) relationship with Iran, Hezbollah, and Hamas. As well as a gradual withdrawal from the Golan (probably 5-10 years). It will be a win-win for all sides. And it will create the kind of renewed optimism in the region, based on facts and not empty words. Israel will prove to the Arab World that it can accept the 1967 borders as its permanent borders.

The last Step, and the toughest, will be the Palestinians. Not because the borders are difficult to draw, but because no Israeli government will be able to remove (by force quite likely) hundreds of thousands of Israelis, without a final and permanent end to all claims both sides have towards one another. To end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Hamas will have to be involved, in one way or another. They may well be more of a representative of the Palestinian people than Abbas, and therefore will have to have a voice. Hopefully, as a result of an Israeli withdrawal from the Golan, pressure from within will force Fatah and Hamas to reconcile, and to form a government that can sign and deliver a final agreement with Israel. Then, finally, the Arab-Israeli conflict will come to an end.

It’s not impossible, but we have to start with Syria.

January 2nd, 2011, 1:06 am


Alex said:

Thanks Yossi,

I second Norman’s call for you to show up here more often. If you do, I will too : )

I agree with Shai’s assessment with one additional observation … there will be considerable pressure from Europe, South America, and elsewhere on Israel to show some seriousness on the Palestinian track … it will not be put on hold while (if) Israel shifted its attention to the Syrian track at some point.

France is now much closer to seeing things from a perspective that is similar to Syria’s

While some issues take time to implement (west bank settlements, withdrawal from the Golan… ) most probably there will be no Syrian or Palestinian track first, everything will need to be started more or less simultaneously.

The status quo is not an option anymore … Young Arabs are much more restless than their parents and there will be non stop pressure on Israel to start showing more interest in peace.

I am quite confident there will be “a solution” within 5 years… hopefully without the need for that effective incentive … regional war.

January 2nd, 2011, 1:20 pm


Ghat Albird said:

ALEX Welcome back.

Obviously the thinking on the other side is different accordning to Agence France Press.

Israel preparing for ‘large scale war’: cable

By Agence France-Presse
Sunday, January 2nd, 2011 — 10:55 am

OSLO — Israel’s army chief told a US Congress delegation in late 2009 he was preparing for a large war in the Middle East, probably against Hamas or Hezbollah, leaked US diplomatic cables showed on Sunday.

“I am preparing the Israeli army for a large scale war, since it is easier to scale down to a smaller operation than to do the opposite,” Lieutenant General Gabi Ashkenazi was quoted as saying in a cable from the US embassy in Tel Aviv.

The document, dated November 15, 2009, was quoted Sunday in Norwegian by Oslo-based daily Aftenposten, which said it had obtained WikiLeaks’ entire cache of 251,187 leaked US embassy cables.

“The rocket threat against Israel is more serious than ever. That is why Israel is putting such emphasis on rocket defence,” Ashkenazi told the US delegation led by Democrat Ike Skelton, the cable showed.

The army chief lamented that Iran has some 300 Shihab rockets that can reach Israel and stressed that the Jewish state would have only between 10 and 12 minutes warning in case of an attack.

However, it was Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon that posed the most acute threat, he cautioned.

According to the quoted cable, Hezbollah is thought to have more than 40,000 rockets, many of which are believed capable of reaching deep into Israel.

US officials meanwhile reportedly estimate the militant group has acquired an arsenal of around 50,000 rockets.

A 2006 war between Hezbollah and Israel killed 1,200 Lebanese, many of them civilians, and 160 Israelis, most of them soldiers.

And in his comments made nearly a year after Israel on December 27, 2008 launched the deadly Gaza war, Ashkenazi said “Israel is on a collision course also with Hamas, which rules Gaza.”

“Hamas will have the possibility to bombard Tel Aviv, with Israel’s highest population concentration,” he was quoted as saying.

The Gaza war — a response to hundreds of rockets fired into the Jewish State — killed some 1,400 mainly civilian Palestinians and 13 Israelis, 10 of them soldiers. It ended on January 18, 2009.

Israel had been harshly criticized for putting civilians at risk during fighting in the densely populated Gaza Strip.

However, in the cable leaked Sunday Ashkenazi is quoted saying Israel next time will not accept “any restrictions on warfare in populated areas,” and insisted the army had never intentionally attacked civilian targets.

January 2nd, 2011, 2:13 pm


Badr said:

…a just settlement for the Palestinians…

This ia another way to say, in effect it is impossible to agree on a peaceful solution.

January 2nd, 2011, 2:42 pm


Akbar Palace said:

And what happened to you since then you lost your direction and pointed your hate…


Please don’t talk to me about hate when you make comments like the following:

KSA is the source of all evil

Without a doubt, the most hate in the region comes from the Arab and Muslim state media, the state clerics, and then the dozens of terrorists organizations and al-Queda, who, BTW, kill far many more Arabs and Muslims than anyone else.


January 2nd, 2011, 4:34 pm


Akbar Palace said:

I Hate Israel

One small example of hate:


January 2nd, 2011, 7:56 pm


Shai said:


I’m sure your buddies in the Jewish settlement of Efrat, the dozens of Israeli rabbis who recently put out a “Jewish Fatwah” against renting or selling to Arabs, and the masses that gathered and marched in one of Israel’s main cities warning Jewish girls not to date Arabs, all sing “I love Arabs.”

The region is full of Racism. But do not attempt to minimize your (our) part of it.

January 3rd, 2011, 12:52 am


AKbar Palace said:

Shai continues to equate that which is unequal

The region is full of Racism.


Yes the “region” is full of racism, including countries that AREN’T Israeli. And the Arab media is much more racist than the Hebrew media. Singers in Israel don’t, to my knowledge, appear on TV to sing about how they hate Arabs and how important it is for them to hate Arabs (see my link above).

BTW, Here’s a article about Gush Etzion and how, in many instances, they coexist with the surrounding residents, many of whom are Arab.


January 3rd, 2011, 7:24 am


5 dancing shlomos said:

take the new year one day at a time. most likely will be same as old year:

misery for most. liars, murderers, and thieves will continue to prosper.

a comment from a syrian posted to syria comment:

January 3, 2011

Time to Tell the Real Story
Arab TV and the Return of the Mavi Marmara
By BOUTHIANA SHAABAN at counterpunch.org

The Arab world possesses the largest number of satellite TV stations in the world, in proportion to population. Alas, the number of satellite stations does not mean the existence of any effort to present Arab causes on both the local and global level in a useful manner.

Take the second anniversary of the brutal Israeli aggression on Gaza. Arab media outlets have neither concerned themselves with the anniversary nor do they expose continuing Israeli crimes against the Palestinian people in Gaza, Hebron, Negev, Lod and Nablus; this despite the growing support of people of conscience in Turkey, Europe, Asia, South America trying to break the racist blockade.

In this framework, the return of the Mavi Marmara ship at Sultanahmet harbor in Istanbul on December 26, 2010, constituted a Palestinian event par excellence. The people of Istanbul rushed to meet the ship which had carried the martyrs of freedom, while Palestinian flags were waved everywhere. The exiled Archbishop of Jerusalem, Hilarion Capucchi, made a moving speech, particularly when he asserted his determination to see Jerusalem in his lifetime and when people repeated Allhu Akbar after him in a scene in which all religious differences disappeared for the sake of gaining freedom and dignity for the Palestinian people. This episode was not broadcast on a single Arab satellite station despite the fact that it represented the spirit of Christian – Muslim brotherhood and constitutes a model for joint action between religions against occupation and injustice.

This coincided with a growing number of countries in South America recognizing the state of Palestine. It also coincided with the announcement of the prospective launch of the Flotilla 2 on May 31, the first anniversary of the massacre perpetrated by Israel against the unarmed civilians on the flotilla who were carrying food, medicine and wheelchairs to the handicapped in Gaza. The Spanish activists on Mavi Marmara built a memorial monument in commemoration of the nine flotilla martyrs killed, in cold blood, by Israeli soldiers in international waters. The Spanish activists are also planning to send two aid ships to break the Gaza blockade in the spring of 2011. It also coincided with the launch of the Asia 1 aid convoy organized by the Asian campaign to break the Gaza blockade. It includes 120 activists from 15 Asian countries and started from the Lattakia port in Syria on Saturday, January 1, 2011.

All these actions, which show the growing support of the free people of the world to the right of the Palestinian people to salvation from Israeli oppression, did not get the space they deserve on international media. If such crimes and many others do not find a place in Arab media, to become part of the conscience of all Arabs , how can we demand that the whole world should know about the crimes of Israeli occupation?

The Palestinian people have shown legendary steadfastness for over 63 years. They sacrifice their life and future for their country. Don’t they deserve from all of us that we tell the real story of their struggle for freedom and justice to all the free people of the world?

January 3rd, 2011, 11:36 am


5 dancing shlomos said:

whatever “terrorist funding” the kingdom does it does as a junior partner to the usa/cia.

terrorist ranking:

1) israel aka the state of the jews

2) usa aka israel’s sock puppet and cat’s paw

January 3rd, 2011, 11:45 am


Observer said:

I am not sure it is going to be a Happy New year especially as Wikilieaks has just published what Ashkenazi told a group of US congressmen about the preparation for a total war that will not spare civilians in Lebanon

Can anyone explain to me the madness of the so called leadership in Zion?


January 3rd, 2011, 12:20 pm


5 dancing shlomos said:

25. the leadership and the led have an aggressive greed to possess what belongs to others and to kill those who do not bow.

January 3rd, 2011, 1:01 pm


Shai said:


You’re hilarious.

“The “region” is full of racism, including countries that AREN’T Israeli.”

Yes, that’s what “the region” means = including other countries.

“The Arab media is much more racist than the Hebrew media.”

There are also no Jews in Arab States, so I could claim they’re only racist in words, not in action, right? Come on, there’s Racism throughout the region. In Israel, you don’t need the media to see Racism. Go out in the street, and look for an Arab that’s treated “equally”.

“BTW, Here’s a article about Gush Etzion and how, in many instances, they coexist with the surrounding residents, many of whom are Arab.”

Ha! “in many instances”? And in “the rest of the instances”? Coexistence… interesting notion. “Many of whom are Arab”? Really, and who are “the rest”? Hindus?

January 3rd, 2011, 1:30 pm


5 dancing shlomos said:

almost forgot.

for a proper beginning to 2011, we need to re affirm the truth:

israel has no right to exist.

January 3rd, 2011, 1:43 pm


Atassi said:

Happy new year to all of you and your families.. I hope this year will bring you prosperity, health and success with less arguments !!

January 3rd, 2011, 2:12 pm


Yossi said:


You first 🙂

January 3rd, 2011, 3:32 pm


Ghat Albird said:


Can anyone explain to me the madness of the so called leadership in Zion?
Hopefully the commentary below might shed some light.

Commentary for December 16, 2010 — A Senior Rabbi Speaks His Mind
Recently in Jerusalem an elderly but important Sephardic rabbi spoke publicly about Jewish
racial superiority and the inferiority of non-Jews. His statement shocked the Jewish com-
munity in Israel and has given ammunition to opponents of Israel and radical Islamists. Here
is the Jerusalem Post article titled, “Yosef: Gentiles exist only to serve Jews”:
“The sole purpose of non-Jews is to serve Jews, according to Rabbi Ovadia Yosef,
the head of Shas’s Council of Torah Sages and a senior Sephardi adjudicator.
‘Goyim [Gentiles] were born only to serve us. Without that, they have no place in
the world — only to serve the People of Israel,’ he said in his weekly Saturday
night sermon on the laws regarding the actions non-Jews are permitted to
perform on Shabbat [as employees of Jews, see Exodus 20:10 and Deuteronomy 5:14].
According to Yosef, the lives of non-Jews in Israel are safeguarded by divinity,
to prevent losses to Jews.
‘In Israel, death has no dominion over them … With Gentiles, it will be like any
person — they need to die, but [God] will give them longevity. Why? Imagine
that one’s donkey would die, they’d lose their money.
This is his servant … That’s why he gets a long life, to work well for this Jew,’
Yosef said. ‘Why are Gentiles needed? They will work, they will plow, they will
reap. We will sit like an effendi and eat. That is why Gentiles were created,’ he

Source : Google.

January 3rd, 2011, 4:37 pm


Yossi said:

Haaretz just reported that Netanyahu sent Malcolm Hoenlein to Damascus. He wanted to send Lauder again, but Lauder couldn’t find his travel cosmetics kit fast enough.


January 3rd, 2011, 5:07 pm


Akbar Palace said:

The Israel our Token Israeli™ doesn’t like to talk about


To further my point, here is a short list of pro-Peace, pro-Arab, and/or Palestinian advocacy groups found in Israel.

Let me know when you find a list like this in any Arab country…

Adva Center
Amnesty International
Bat Shalom
Center for Jewish-Arab Econoomic Development
Courage to Refuse
Givat Haviva Institure
Peace Now
The People’s Voice
Physicians for Human-Rights
Public Committee Against Torture in Israel
Rabbis for Human Rights
Yesh Din



January 3rd, 2011, 6:18 pm


Ziad said:

Akbar Palace said:

Let me know when you find a list like this in any Arab country…

AP there is no equivalence between the oppressed and his oppressor , or between the victim and his victimizer.
For an Israeli to come out in support for Palestinian Arabs means (s)he is decent with a conscious. For an Arab to support Israel means (s)he is masochistic, crazy, or a traitor.
Remember the demolished houses, the uprooted trees, the wall that separate villagers from their lands, the big prison, the steady humiliations at the check points, and the continuous killings and kidnappings.

January 3rd, 2011, 7:55 pm


Norman said:

28. 5 dancing shlomos said:

almost forgot.

for a proper beginning to 2011, we need to re affirm the truth:

Israel has no right to exist.

You are wrong , The Jews and Israel have the right to exist but not the way they are but as equal ,

January 3rd, 2011, 9:02 pm


Alex said:

Thanks Ghat Albird. Both stories about Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi could be accurate.

Last time Israel engaged in peace negotiations with Syria (in Turkey) Israeli leaders did not feel awkward at all as they launched their surprise attack on Gaza.

Yossi, I think the propaganda (and distortion of the facts) might be clear enough that it is business as usual in Israel …

The senior official in Jerusalem said that it was not a lack of emissaries or mediators preventing talks between Israel and Syria.

“What makes the resumption of negotiations with Syria tough is Assad’s precondition – his demand that Israel withdraw from the Golan Heights before the start of talks,” the official said.

I hope though that Malcolm Hoenlein was in Damascus to discuss renovating Aleppo’s synagogue.

I just got a new photo from there. The synagogue is in a very good shape, it needs just minor renovations.

January 3rd, 2011, 10:40 pm


Akbar Palace said:

Is Wiki still Leaking?

Interesting article from Daniel Pipes’ website:

In the cable, Amos Gilad, head of the Defense Ministry’s diplomatic-security bureau, was quoted as asserting that peace with Syria was “critical to achieving Israel-Palestinian peace due to Syria’s ability to support spoilers.” According to the sources quoted in the Kuwati paper on Saturday, The Obama administration believes peace between Israel and Syria would constitute a breakthrough that would help kick-start stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

The paper quoted senior adviser to US President Barack Obama, Dennis Ross as saying the Syrians were prepared to distance themselves from Iran, Hizbullah and Hamas and cooperate with the US in the war on terrorism.

These recent developments, according to the paper, were responsible for Obama¹s decision Wednesday to bypass the Senate and appoint Robert Ford as the first US ambassador to Damascus since 2005.


Ziad is Oppressed NewZ

Ziad states:

AP there is no equivalence between the oppressed and his oppressor , or between the victim and his victimizer.


How did Jews “oppress” the Arabs in Hebron in 1929?

How did Jews “oppress” the Arabs by accepting the 1947 partition plan?

How did Jews “oppress” the Arabs in 1948 when 5 Arab armies invaded Palestine to make it Judenrein?

And how did Jews “oppress” Arabs prior to the ’67 war, when Israel occupied no arab lands at all, while Israel’s arab neighbors were preparing for war?

And how many peace plans have the Palestinians turned down so far? And what counter-offers have the Palestinians provided? The Israelis were willing to take much less than all the pie when they had no “bargaining chips” in 1947. Who refused the offer?

Methinks you aren’t telling the whole story habibi.

For an Israeli to come out in support for Palestinian Arabs means (s)he is decent with a conscious.

Everyone should be treated decently, including Israelis who have been targeted by missiles, bullets, and suicide bombs.

For an Arab to support Israel means (s)he is masochistic, crazy, or a traitor.

Why the double-standard? I’m not talking about supporting Israel, I’m talking about supporting peace. Shouldn’t it go both ways? BTW, if one is a traitor for supporting Israel, why is it Arabs don’t even support Arabs who are murdered and martyred in much greater number by other Arab thugs?

So as near as I can tell, the only support Arabs give is to the biggest Arab THUGS and DESPOTS known on the planet. Saddam Hussein, the Assads, Ahmadinejad, Qaddafi. Therefore, we Jews (sans the Jewish Yafeh Nefesh) have given up on any pro-peace organization from the Arabs world. There is none, and there never will be.

Remember the demolished houses, the uprooted trees, the wall that separate villagers from their lands, the big prison, the steady humiliations at the check points, and the continuous killings and kidnappings.

Yes, and I also remember the scores of bus bombings, the kidnappings, the knifings, the missiles and the katyushas. And, I also remember the days prior to any occupation, when there was no Israeli presence in the West Bank or Gaza, yet, Arab terrorism was at its peak!

Bottom line: Arabs are intolerant against Jews, intolerant of Christians, intolerant of democracy (which they cry a lot about and do nothing for) and intolerant of human rights (except for Israel).

January 3rd, 2011, 10:43 pm


Norman said:


Don’t you think that the synagogue in Aleppo is Syrian and Syria who should be doing the renovation , That is what i think.

January 3rd, 2011, 10:45 pm


Alex said:

Norman, I think the Syrian government alone would not risk touching the Synagogue. It is safer to let a respected Jewish American organization handle and manage that kind of project. Renovating religious historical buildings is quite challenging.

For example, many people criticized the renovation of Aleppo’s grand mosque because new wooden doors were installed .. they are beautiful doors but they look so new and almost out of place.


You would save yourself a lot of time if you stay away from Daniel Pipes and from Kuwaiti newspaper reports… especially the ones that say “Assad indicated he is willing to dump Iran, Hezbollah and Hamas ….”

January 3rd, 2011, 11:00 pm


Ghat Albird said:

The following extract typifies the ultimate opinion and thoughts of leading zionists regardless of were they might reside:

The Jewish sense of alienation from, and abiding distrust of, non-Jews is also manifest in a remarkable essay published in 2002 in the Forward, the prominent Jewish community weekly. Entitled “We’re Right, the Whole World’s Wrong,” it is written by Rabbi Dov Fischer, an attorney and a member of the Jewish Community Relations Committee of the Jewish Federation of Los Angeles.

Rabbi Fischer is also national vice president of the Zionist Organization of America. He is thus not an obscure or semi-literate scribbler, but rather an influential Jewish community figure. And this piece did not appear in some marginal periodical, but rather in what is perhaps the most literate and thoughtful Jewish weekly in America, and certainly one of the most influential.

In his essay, Rabbi Fischer tells readers: “If we Jews are anything, we are a people of history … Our history provides the strength to know that we can be right and the whole world wrong.”

“We were right, and the whole world was wrong. The Crusades. The blood libels and the Talmud burnings in England and France,…. the persecution of Soviet Jewry. The Holocaust. Each time, Europe stood by silently — or actively participated in murdering us — and we alone were right, and the whole world was wrong.

“Today, once again, we alone are right and the whole world is wrong. The Arabs, the Russians, the Africans, the Vatican proffer their aggregated insights into and accumulated knowledge of the ethics of massacre. And the Europeans.

Is it any wonder that Nethanyahu’s foreign minister is Avigdor Lieberman? And that Israelis consider themselves “better” than everyone else.

January 4th, 2011, 10:01 am


Akbar Palace said:


Here’s the unedited article from his website. Anyway, why don’t you take it a step further and outline for us 3 things you disagree with him on?


January 4th, 2011, 11:29 am


5 dancing shlomos said:


…and thieves have a right to their takings and murderers have a right to kill as long as they do so with a smile and a “why cant we be friends”.

to re affirm:

“israel has no right to exist”

January 4th, 2011, 11:46 am


5 dancing shlomos said:

wisdom from a son of greater syria and one of the 3-5 greatest americans/humans of the last 120 years:

A Society of Buyers
Tweeting Away the Time
By RALPH NADER at counterpunch.org

The start of the New Year is a good time to talk about Time. About this, we can all agree—there are only twenty four hours in a day. Zillions of companies and persons want a piece of that time from us in order to make money. But that supply of Time is not expandable. Unlike other supplies in the marketplace, this one has no give beyond twenty four hours a day.

Note the massive increase in commercial requests for our time in return for our dollars—directly or indirectly—compared to 60 years ago. Instead of three television networks bidding for our time in order to sell advertising, there are over 100 channels on any cable system. There are ever more radio stations, more online blogs and websites, more video games, more music. In 1950, there were no cell phones, no iPhones, no Blackberries, no e-mails, no text messaging, no apps, no E-books, no faxes. Entertainment fare is now 24/7 and expanding rapidly on the Internet.

But there are still only twenty four hours per day. What are these merchants expecting of the consumers’ time? Squeezing more into less time as attention spans shorten, for one. Marketing so irresistibly that people buy far more of these videos and other entertainment services than they have time to listen or to view.

Think of the VCRs and the DVDs piled up at home that have never been seen. Same for many books. The big bestseller on the universe: The Grand Design by scientist Stephen Hawking became status furniture on sitting room tables except for the one in a hundred who actually read that book.

In short, the gap between what we think we have time for when we buy these products and what we actually expend time on is setting records every day.

However, people of all ages are spending more time on casual gaming (75 million Americans is the estimate) than on solitaire or cards—apart from being addicted to competitive video games. So there is some substitution at play here.

E-mails and text messaging are taking a large slice out of the day, in part because they are so cheap and in part because they are so personal. “What gives” here is that less time is being spent on the telephone but by no means in equal measure.

So cheap and easy are modern communications that it is often harder to actually reach people than during the days of the dial phone.

How much time do we spend trying to get someone to return calls or even to react to E-mails (which are increasingly passé in favor of text-messages) during the day or week? After awhile one stops trying to make telephone contact because of the low probability of actually talking to the person you want to reach.

People are so overloaded that just getting them to respond to a friendly letter, call or electronic message requires many repetitions. The banality of abundance is at work here.

On the other hand, where you do get quick replies are from your “friends” with mutual gossip and personal tid-bits drive up the back and forth volume immensely. A 16 year old girl said that she sends 600 text messages a day and “would die without her cell phone.”

Still the sellers are more and more vigorously competing for a piece of the buyers’ time. Where is all this going? First the sales appeal may ostensibly be for the buyers’ time—eg. toys, DVDs—but it really is an appeal to the buyers’ hope or belief that he/she has the time sometime. That is what gives what economists call the “elasticity” to the seemingly finite twenty four hour day. Whether that time is devoted to the program or product is immaterial to the seller once the sale is made. The successful seller is happy.

But what is happening to the buyer? More stuff piles up. More sense of being time burdened when weeks and months pass without getting around to using the purchased goods or services. More susceptibility to buying the newest upgrade or version out of a sense of getting to now what they haven’t had time to get to before with the older purchase.

Moreover, as a society of buyers, we become ever more fractured audiences—especially for national television—and it is less likely that we see or react to the events of the day as a community.

I was reminded of this observation recently when Washington’s current outrages of endemic wars, waste and corruption rattle the public far less than Nixon’s Watergate behavior. In 1974 after Nixon fired his Attorney General and the Special Prosecutor who were investigating his involvement in the Watergate burglary and cover-up, Tennesseans sent 40,000 telegrams to one of their Senators over three days. Members of Congress, even with the ease of E-mail and Twitter, do not get that kind of meaningful volume.

When our time feels overwhelmed and the marketers are banging on our doors for more time claims, what time is there left for necessary solitude, for family and other socializing, for kids playing outside instead of being addicted to indoor screens, even at dinner, for, excuse the words, reflection and contemplation?

It comes down to whether we have any time from our absorption into virtual reality to engage reality, including civil and political realities. A Society whose people do not show up for public meetings, hearings, protests and even local folklore events is a society that is cannibalizing its democracy, its critical sense of community purpose.

Take back some of those discretionary hours from the marketers and electronic entertainers. Devote them to shaping the future for you and your children.


do not be smiley-face-stupid to monsters no matter how much they sweet talk you into disposession and death.

January 4th, 2011, 12:00 pm


5 dancing shlomos said:

from robt fisk, beirut, syria:


Saturday, 13 November 2010

Just up behind my Beirut home is a narrow, shady laneway called Makhoul Street. And in Makhoul Street, there is a small shop with a rusting door behind which an Armenian sells ancient postcards of Beirut.

There is a picture of the port, the rear of a steam loco protruding from a small station. There is a tree-lined street with horses pulling a covered cart, Lebanese men wearing the old Ottoman tarbush, the distant roof of the St George Maronite cathedral. But it’s the postmark that catches my attention, dated 11 October 1906. “Beirut, Syria,” it says.

For of course, in the dying days of the Ottomans, Beirut was in a land whose regional capital was Damascus. True, the French were there in force under the political ruins of what were called the “capitulations” – French authorities ran the “Levant” post office – but the “Lebanese” regarded Damascus as their principal city.

may this new year of 2011 bring justice to the creators of great misery: england, france, amurderka, and jewry (jewry encompasses the 3 and itself).

January 4th, 2011, 1:27 pm


Ziad said:

Omar Offendum (USA/Syria) Live at Words Beats Life in Washington DC ’09

January 4th, 2011, 8:36 pm


Yossi said:


You’re right, that was a patent lie on behalf of that “senior Israeli official”. There’s a great shortage of politicians with decency, not only in Israel, but also pretty much everywhere else. Think of Berlusconi for example, it’s almost politics as pornography. These are very cynical and decadent times.

January 5th, 2011, 2:21 am


Badr said:

The Captive Arab Mind

Such minds resort to conspiracy theory because it is the ultimate refuge of the powerless. If you cannot change your own life, it must be that some greater force controls the world.

Read here the full article.

January 5th, 2011, 5:32 am


norman said:

The Christian Science Monitor – CSMonitor.com
In Syria, a kernel of democracy
The Iraqi refugee crisis in Syria helped open the door for aid and rights groups, serving as one catalyst in the strengthening of civil society.

A worker carries a box of food aid for Iraqi refugees distributed by international organizations at a UN center near Damascus, Syria.
(Khaled al-Hariri/Reuters)


By Tarek Fouda, Contributor
posted January 4, 2011 at 2:37 pm EST

Damascus, Syria —
Syria’s one-party regime is not accustomed to vibrant public campaigns overturning government decisions.

But with the number of development organizations as much as tripling over the past six years, and the Iraqi refugee crisis awakening leaders to the need for outside help, Syria is gradually allowing aid and rights groups to operate more freely in the country. This has allowed such organizations to influence public discourse in ways that would have been unthinkable in the past.

RELATED – Press Freedom Index: Where Syria fits in

One of the most explicit examples of this came in May 2009, when the Syrian government proposed draconian restrictions on women’s rights. The draft law would have effectively placed a woman’s right to work, study, and travel outside the home in the hands of her father or, once married, her husband.

“It was very bad,” says Bassam al-Kadi, director of Syrian Women’s Observatory, a nongovernmental organization based in Damascus. “We named it the Taliban draft.”

But women’s organizations and civil society activists began mobilizing against it. By July, the proposal had been shelved, and the Ministry of Justice vowed to “reconsider the subject in coordination with all parties concerned.”

To date, the draft has not been reintroduced. According to Mr. Kadi, “The regime considered the power balance in the country, and determined that there was no other way but to open doors to civil society.”

More than a year later, while restrictions continue, activists are building more organizations and more effective networks, with support from some surprising quarters, including the president’s wife.

Civic action in Syria as early as 1556
Civil society – the realm that allows citizens to organize around shared interests – is seen by many advocates as a key to democratic reform.

But it is not new to Syria. Civic endowments to support charitable works were in place as early as 1556, and by 1870 municipalities were organizing around civil society initiatives, says Nada Osman Alaeddine, project manager at the cultural organization Rawafed.

In recent years, Syria has lagged behind other countries in the region. But in a marked change, Syria’s five-year plan for 2005-10 acknowledges that development organizations can play a positive role in society, proposing “radical changes in order to activate and enhance the capabilities of the civil society role in the coming stage.”

Iraqi refugee crisis a catalyst
Among the many reasons for this loosening of restrictions, say some observers, is the government’s recognition that it can’t meet the country’s needs without help from both local and international organizations.

According to Joshua Landis, a professor of Middle Eastern Studies at Oklahoma University, a particularly acute crisis came with the flood of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi refugees into Syria, straining government. The first nine European NGOs allowed into the country are all working with Iraqi refugees, he notes.

While they may still face certain restrictions, including limits on foreign staff and possible monitoring of meetings with local organizations, the climate is still improved from previous years, when most international NGOs were effectively barred from the country.

Next step: reform of laws governing NGOs
The next step needed, say many activists, is reform of the Syrian laws regulating NGOs. The current laws, enforced by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor, can impose politicized or bureaucratic restrictions and stifle the creation of new organizations, although many organizations choose to work without a license, carefully negotiating the obstacles this presents.

“Currently, there are only a few ways to register an organization, and our experience has shown that there are diverse ways for people to operate and interact with civil society,” says Ms. Alaeddine, whose organization promotes cultural projects and provides resources for Syrian artists. The group is part of a network of Syrian NGOs called the Syrian Trust for Development, founded in 2007 and chaired by first lady Asma al-Assad.

At the trust’s first conference, held in 2010, Ms. Assad called for “a fundamental change in the way the sector is regulated.” Professor Landis is skeptical about the potential for broad reforms, however, noting that while Syria wants to expand the role of civil society, it is “still experimenting” with how much leeway to offer.

Will civil society bring democracy?
It remains to be seen if this new proliferation of NGOs will translate into political change. Landis, while championing the social value of their work, remains unconvinced. “Will they bring democracy to Syria? I don’t think so,” he says.

Alaeddine, for her part, is looking forward to the positive change her organization can bring to daily lives by providing young people with the necessary resources to invigorate Syrian culture.

“Development is a long process that requires patience and a grasp of the bigger picture,” she says. “Young people are craving to become more engaged and involved in their community [and] seem to be highly aware of the cultural richness and creative potential around them.”

Kadi, skeptical of international efforts, also sees a grass-roots impetus coming from Syria’s rising generation. “Among the youth, we see civil society growing up without the same organizations, but with new people building new networks and starting new projects,” he says. “For me, I’m happy to see new people take things into their own hands.”

RELATED – Press Freedom Index: Where Syria fits in

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January 5th, 2011, 11:37 am


Ghat Albird said:


Back at you since YOU have the unedited article from his website. Why don’t YOU take it a step further and outline for us 3 things you agree or disagree with him on?

January 5th, 2011, 1:40 pm


Observer said:

Once again the madness of the ultra Zionists. Wikileaks reports that Israel is determined to keep the Gaza economy at just a level to avoid full humanitarian collapse.
As Juan Cole points out this is a war crime and a clear breach of UNSC resolutions.

Now madness is not a characteristic of one group but is all too human. As genetically we are 99% similar to each other, I conclude that a culture of hatred is promoted. We are seeing this in the so called modern democratic world of Zion, but also in visceral hatreds in Alexandria and Baghdad. It is also the same hatred we have seen on 9/11 and the same hatred at GITMO and elsewhere.

Here is the link to Juan Cole’s post.

I think it is high time to call a spade a spade and tell it as it is; after all it was the British that cut off the thumbs of the women of India to destroy the indigenous sewing tradition to open up the market for manufactared goods from England. The so called White Man’s Burden carrying the noble Mission Civilisatrice to the inferior Untermensch of the world that is at the heart of all this hatred.

Again Renan said that nationalism is a mythical view of oneself combined with visceral hatred of the other.


January 5th, 2011, 10:02 pm


Akbar Palace said:

Ultra Zionist NewZ


I’m finding Juan Cole’s assertions to be a drastic exaggeration. No one is having their thumbs cut off, and I don’t think the Indians were ever lauching missiles into Great Britain.

But if he thinks he has a good case, the good Professor should bring charges into international court.


January 6th, 2011, 7:14 am


Ghat Albird said:

OBSERVER . The time to call a spade a spade is long gone. It seems this ex-Prime Minister is still comatose but housed on his farm.

“Everybody has to move, run and grab as many (Palestinian) hilltops as they can to enlarge the (Jewish) settlements because everything we take now will stay ours…Everything we don’t grab will go to them.” — Ariel Sharon, Israeli Foreign Minister, addressing a meeting of the Tsomet Party, Agence France Presse, Nov. 15, 1998.

January 6th, 2011, 12:31 pm


5 dancing shlomos said:


the point of linking to raphael patai’s kin is what?

rubbish is rubbish. whether by patai or cohen or another that the nyt knows will make the collective happy.

January 6th, 2011, 1:26 pm


SimoHurtta said:

But if he thinks he has a good case, the good Professor should bring charges into international court.

Akbar there is a problem. Israel doesn’t obey the decisions of the International Court of Justice. Well I suppose you already knew that. When somebody does something against Israel “you” are shouting help UN and ICJ. When Israel has been caught doing something bad and it is constantly caught for such behaviour, “you” shout screw UN and ICJ.

On the other hand can you prove that Reuters’ picture in that your linked page is not staged, can you prove that IDF officers and your politicians did not make much dishonest money with those luxury goods (vegetables and fruits) in that photo. What is hilarious in that your linked IDF propaganda that they speak about humanitarian aid, like Israel would give one shekel worth of aid to Palestinians. For decades “you” have earned money with that humanitarian aid given by everybody else but not by the state of Israel to Palestinians. As latest Wikileaks files show “you” even charged pride money for every lorry going to Gaza. If weekly go hundreds of truckloads (as your foreign ministry claims) it means that the IDF officers earn every week millions with the bribes ($3,000 to get a truckload of merchandise through the Karni Crossing). What a most moral army in the world, in the only democracy in Middle East. No moral – no democracy.

Let’s Akbar make political scientist Dr. Lawrence Britt’s test with present days Israel

1) Powerful and Continuing Nationalism
Yes, Yes, Yes Zionism
2) Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights
Yes especially for the non-Jews, but increasingly also for
3) Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause
Yes, they are found thousands of kilometres away.
4) Supremacy of the Military
5) Rampant Sexism
Yes, starting from the former president to the buses in Jerusalem.
6) Controlled Mass Media
Well increasing yes. Constant censored items and gags.
7) Obsession with National Security
8 ) Religion and Government are Intertwined
Yes, more than anywhere else.
9) Corporate Power is Protected
Well partly.
10) Labor Power is Suppressed
Non-Jews yes.
11) Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts
Signs of it starting.
12) Obsession with Crime and Punishment
Yes, especially with non-Jews.
13) Rampant Cronyism and Corruption
Clear signs of it.
14) Fraudulent Elections
Well predominately mode among the Jewish majority is so united that now need to control the elections is still small. The possibilities of the democratic rights of minorities in elections are increasingly blocked and controlled.

As the 14 Characteristics of Fascism test shows Israel is a Fascist state, maybe not yet for the majority, but certainly for near halve of the population.


Israel urges 800 Turkish workers to leave country

Hmmmm. Turkey exported in 2009 worth 1069 million euro and imported worth 773 million euro.

Israel is obviously really forcing the West to choose. Turkey or Israel. The winner gets Turkey, the looser will continue with Israel.

January 6th, 2011, 3:56 pm


Badr said:

53. 5 dancing,

One Man’s Rubbish Is Another Man’s Treasure. 😉

January 6th, 2011, 5:09 pm


Akbar Palace said:

You’re kidding, right?


Thank you for posting this professor’s opinion, but I don’t agree with him at all.

Furthermore, you need to get out more, or at least attend some sort of continuing education. Israel is miles better in these 14 categories than the average Arab country.

January 6th, 2011, 10:35 pm


Norman said:

This is interesting and shows that , now Israel does not miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity,

How Israel Abandoned a Peace Deal With Syria
Turkey was left feeling betrayed
By Alon Ben-Meir
Created: Jan 6, 2011 Last Updated: Jan 6, 2011

TROUBLED BORDER: A stop sign that reads in Hebrew that the border is ahead is pictured on Nov. 7, 2010, on the outskirts of the disputed village of Ghajar on the border with Lebanon and Syria’s Golan Heights. (Jalaa Marey/AFP/Getty Images) The collapse of the Israeli-Syrian near peace agreement was the most troubling episode that deepened the growing rift between Turkey and Israel over Iran.

Perhaps the primary cause behind the rapid deterioration of Israeli-Turkish relations before Iran became central to their rift is Turkey’s disappointment over the failure of Israel’s former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to conclude an Israeli-Syrian peace. Turkey felt betrayed by Olmert, who failed to deliver the peace agreement with Syria which was painstakingly mediated by Ankara.

Prime Minister Erdogan, who invested heavy political capital to mediate between Damascus and Jerusalem, was expecting to witness the signing of a peace treaty, but was instead confronted in January 2009 with the news that Israel invaded Gaza.

From Turkey’s perspective, an Israeli-Syrian peace could have fundamentally changed the geopolitical conditions throughout the Middle East and led to the resolution of other conflicts while fostering long-term regional stability. In essence, it was a historic opportunity that was squandered by Israel.

As a rising power, there was nothing more pronounced for Turkey to undertake than mediating peace between Israel and Syria, which has eluded the United States for decades.

Syria is still ready and able to strike a peace agreement with Israel.

The opportunity presented itself in early October 2007 when Syria indicated through a back channel that it was ready, willing, and able to forge a permanent peace treaty with Israel and that Damascus was prepared to make significant concessions to allay Israel’s security and water concerns.

It is critically important to note that Syria’s expressed desire to enter into peace negotiations came only three weeks following Israel’s bombing of a suspected Syrian nuclear plant in September 2007.

Syria was particularly interested in forging a peace agreement with Israel at that particular juncture prompted by its growing isolation, its economic hardship, and especially the realization that however important its bilateral relations with Iran, those relations have their own liability as well as limitations, especially in the long run.

The question for Syria at the time was whether Turkey or Spain would be a more suitable mediator, as Damascus insisted that while it was ready to make peace with Israel, it wanted to negotiate through a third party. Damascus convincingly argued that it would be willing to move to direct negotiations once the parameters for an agreement were established, as long as Israel accepted the principle that any peace accord would be based on the exchange of territory for peace and that the 1967 June 4 ceasefire lines provided the baseline.

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Damascus’s genuine desire to reach a peace agreement with Israel was subsequently demonstrated throughout the negotiations with Turkey’s mediation.

Turkey’s proximity, its improved relations with Syria, and its excellent ties with Israel at the time quickly ruled out Spain as a potential mediator. Within a few weeks the three countries agreed on the modalities of the negotiations, which commenced in earnest in the beginning of 2008. Although the details of the negotiations between Israel and Syria with Turkish mediation remained confidential, it became public knowledge that the negotiations were taking place.

Over a period of more than a year, the Turkish government invested substantial time and political capital to significantly advance the process. Based on very reliable accounts, by December 2008 Israel and Syria were able to resolve nearly 95 percent of their differences. Syria was able to satisfy Israel’s stringent security requirements, which included the demilitarization of the Golan Heights, the stationing of peacekeeping forces on Syrian territory, and a monitoring system to prevent any violation of the accord.

In addition, both sides agreed to a phased withdrawal of Israeli forces to insure orderly transition and time to resettle all settlers. Furthermore, Syria agreed to an equitable distribution of water, developing a joint park, and providing special permits to the settlers to visit the Golan.

Interestingly, Syria was also ready to consider the development of a free trade zone on the Golan open to all the states in the area, a project that would have transformed the relationships between Israel and all of its neighbors.
Read more. . . . Gaza Incursion

Gaza Incursion
The occasion was celebrated between the Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan and his Israeli counterpart Olmert with a dinner in Ankara that lasted five hours. Mr.Olmert was expected to confirm the near agreement with his Turkish counterpart within a few days following his consultation with his government immediately upon his return to Israel.

Instead, to the utter surprise and dismay of the Turkish government, five days after Olmert returned to Jerusalem, Israel began a massive incursion into Gaza. Ankara felt betrayed by the Israeli action and deceived by Olmert’s failure to inform the Turkish prime minister of Israel’s pending operation of which he, as the prime minister, was obviously fully aware of and could have disclosed to his Turkish counterpart while he was still in Ankara.

For Mr. Erdogan, the problem was compounded not only because he did not hear from Olmert the message of peace which he eagerly anticipated, but a declaration of war with all of its potential regional consequences.

By December 2008 Israel and Syria were able to resolve nearly 95 percent of their differences.

It is hard to describe the depth of the Turks’ disappointment, not only because they were left in the dark, but because a major breakthrough in the Arab-Israeli peace process of historical magnitude was snatched away. On the rise as a regional power, for Turkey to successfully mediate a peace agreement between Israel and Syria after 60 years of conflict would have placed Turkey at the front and center of international prominence, especially because an Israeli-Syrian peace would have had so many other regional and even international implications.

From the Turkish perspective, it would have changed the region’s political dynamic and paved the way to peace between Israel and Lebanon, and Israel and the Palestinians, and might have also changed the nature of hostile relations between Israel and Iran, thereby averting a potential violent conflict between the two nations, which Ankara profoundly fears.

As the Turks see it, Israel has acted as if it is accountable to no one and independent of everyone.

Turkey feels it has a major stake in any conflict in the Middle East, and it is loath to merely accept Israeli de facto policies that run contrary to Turkish national interests.

As several Turkish high officials lamented, the strategic alliance with Israel is meaningful only when there is full and open cooperation between the parties on any issue that may impact either country’s national strategic interests. But when one side or the other acts as if the alliance is only one-sided to be exploited, then it becomes at best meaningless but often harmful because of the inherent strategic interdependency and cooperation between the parties.

Peace Still Possible
Contrary to the view that the Syrian authorities only talk about peace but are not interested in forging one because keeping the tension with Israel allows Bashar al-Assad, Syria’s president to keep his grip on power, from everything we know Syria is still ready and able to strike a peace agreement with Israel—not because it is weak and despondent, but because Damascus understands that its ultimate welfare and well-being depend on improved relations with the West, especially the United States, which is and remains the ultimate power-arbiter in the Middle East.

Moreover, continued tension with Israel has no strategic value and it could be utilized tactically and even then only up to a point that may now have run its course as Israel is becoming militarily stronger and more prosperous economically.

Furthermore, Damascus understands the precariousness of its position in connection with Iran not only because of Tehran’s growing international isolation—resulting from its nuclear program—but also because of the inherent inconsistency with Damascus’s determination to remain the dominant arbiter over the fate of Lebanon.

Notwithstanding Israel’s skepticism about Syria and especially Damascus’s close ties with Iran, it appears that Israel’s obsession with Iran obscured many other options, especially striking a peace agreement with Syria. The Netanyahu government today appears to be even farther away from any of its predecessors from considering a negotiated agreement with Syria that would of necessity require the return of the Golan.

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It is true that considering Israel’s military prowess, Syria will not be able to regain the Golan by force in the foreseeable future. But this does not suggest that continued Israeli entrenchment on the Golan will over time create an irreversible situation that would compel Syria to simply give up its claim over its territory.

Although it is also true that relocating the settlers will require billions of dollars and it would be heartbreaking for many Israelis, the passage of time will make it only much more expensive and far more traumatic for the Israelis. Nobody should buy into the argument that there will be tremendous resistance by the settlers. The vast majority will relocate peacefully if given the same quality of life and job opportunity.

Any Israeli government that does not see far enough into the future and take the necessary measures to prevent inevitable catastrophic developments, even if the public is not alarmed by the status quo, that government will have to answer the judgment of time, which will be harsh and unforgiving.

Due to the continuing Turkish-Israeli rift that was deepened by the flotilla incident, the time may not be auspicious for Turkey to resume its mediating role, but Ankara still is best positioned to mediate between Syria and Israel—provided there is a government in Israel that can see the light.

A government that is not blinded and self-absorbed, one that allows itself, time and again, to miss opportunities in the name of national security—when in fact, by its own shortsightedness is jeopardizing Israel’s long-term national security concerns.

A version of this article was published originally in the Jerusalem Post. Alon Ben-Meir is a professor of international relations at the Center for Global Affairs at NYU. He teaches courses on international negotiation and Middle Eastern studies and may be reached at alon@alonben-meir.com.

January 6th, 2011, 10:43 pm


SimoHurtta said:

Furthermore, you need to get out more, or at least attend some sort of continuing education. Israel is miles better in these 14 categories than the average Arab country.

Akbar Israel claims to be a western country and a democracy, not an Arab country, so Israel’s comparison group are western democracies. In that comparison group Israel begins to be near with that 14 point test that what Nazi Germany was in 1932-1938. This Britt’s test list is best to identify countries which have gone through a process where democracy has under a longer period badly degenerated. Surely people like you are not able to see Israel’s present racist and fascist state because you belong to the local elite benefiting of the exploitation. You are as competent to see the problems in a severely sick society as a member of Nazi party was in Germany before WW2 or a active Klu Kluz clan member in USA in the 50’s.

Why are Akbar for example on Ben Gurion airport several internet sites denied to accessed? Why is there a witch hunt starting in Israel against human right organizations which refuse to be Zionist propaganda horns? Why to probe more the human right organizations than to investigate the human rights crimes and violations? These are clear signs of drifting into fascism. Soon will we see also the killings of Jewish opposition by Jews starting when the tension among the astonishing quarrelsome Jewish subgroups encounters the boiling point, when Palestine is established.

Do Akbar Egyptian army personnel demand bribes for each load going to Gaza. Maybe not, maybe yes. But the relevant thing for an Israeli and to us rest is that Israeli army personnel does. That is proven to be a fact. I would put here a smile mark it would give any reason to smile. Well a ironic smile for that extreme hypocrisy you people constantly present. “We are so moral and advanced” – bullshit, greedy corrupt idiots run your country. There is not much difference between Israel and the most depressive Arab countries. The only difference is in the vocal and constant self praise and we are the victim propaganda.

By the way Akbar did you know that Israel has killed more people with tear gas (gas and targeted shooting with those gas canisters), on Palestinian land by the way, than those constantly mentioned Gaza rockets have killed? Hmmmmm where are the boycotts against Israeli “Hamas” and “Talebans”?

January 7th, 2011, 6:31 am


Akbar Palace said:

Sim’s “object” of Scrutiny

Akbar Israel claims to be a western country and a democracy, not an Arab country, so Israel’s comparison group are western democracies.


I understand. So if Israel were to claim to be an Arab thug state like Syria, you would “focus” on some other democracy? Sure!

Just admit it Sim, you suffer from “Jew on the Brain” syndrome.;)

BTW, when I want to learn something about a foreign country, I usually start with the CIA World Factbook…


January 7th, 2011, 10:12 am


Akbar Palace said:


Either you made this quote up, or you found it on one of the many anti-Israel/anti-semitic websites.

Please forward the link showing when and where Menachem Begin uttered those words.

Professor Josh,

I see your high academic background isn’t being matched by your participants. I hope this brings you joy and a sense of purpose.

January 7th, 2011, 11:05 am


Ghat Albird said:

What like you people are fond of saying “chutzpah”

First you order me to give you a link and then you proceed to insult Dr. Landis.

January 7th, 2011, 12:51 pm


Observer said:

My opinion is that there are some on both sides of the issue on this blog that are beyond reasoning and therefore beyond a requirement for a response.

My thoughts remain anchored around the following points:
Artificial entities carved out of the Ottoman empire were deliberately made to remain unstable and uncooperative with each other. This includes the Zionist enterprise and in a great irony of fate, the wishes of the European racists were fulfilled as they exported the Jewish people to a region of eternal conflicts.

There are only three nation states in the region Turkey Iran and Egypt in the traditional sense of the European word of Nation state. The others are families clans tribes and sects with flags.

The instability inherent in the region is a reason for the outside powers to intervene in the affairs of a strategic area, to counter a mythical perception of an Eastern Islamic threat. However, on the long run getting in is easy and getting out is incredibly messy and costly. So the Europeans now continue to have proclamations and indignations but no longer can affect any real influence. It is a good reason to continue to rally their populations against the “foreigner” be it the immigrant or the radical that is persecuting the Christians of the region.

The region is descending into medieval chaos and this goes from the pronouncations of Avigdor and Rabbi Yosi about the superiority of one group over the rest of humanity to the Grand Mufti of Alazhar who advocates breast feeding your co workers so that you can unveil in front of them. The current pope is also not helping as he still proclaims infallibity.

A few countries and groups have a long term strategy. Some are pure evil and others are a combination of some good and some evil, and yet others are messianic in their strategy.

As usual only after a slaughter will make some come out and say Mia Culpa.

January 7th, 2011, 3:24 pm


Akbar Palace said:

Searching Anti-semitic Websites is Bad for your Brain Cells NewZ

First you order me to give you a link …


In the english language, “please” is not an order and is considered well-mannered.

And, of course, you could still embarass me at the speed of light if you can provide a respected source for your Begin “quote” (which, BTW, seems to have been deleted).

January 7th, 2011, 3:40 pm


SimoHurtta said:

And, of course, you could still embarass me at the speed of light if you can provide a respected source for your Begin “quote” (which, BTW, seems to have been deleted).

Well Akbar Amnon Kapeliouk was a very respected French-Israeli, Jewish journalist. He was also one of the founders of B’Tselem. He wrote to numerous respected newspapers, before and after this New Statesman article. It seems to be obvious that Kapeliouk did write that Begin quote published in New Statesman June 25, 1982, sadly they do not have so old numbers in internet.

Camera was actually not denying that “Our race is the Master Race. We Jews are divine gods on this planet…” quote. The quote they are referring is about “beasts walking on two legs”. Camera is only in its famous “academic” style saying that Menachem Begin did not mean Palestinians he did mean “Terrorists, who target children in Israel”. They do not deny the quote. Well that is up to readers to decide who that old famous terrorist leader did mean. The man behind King David bombing, Deir Yassin and numerous other less honourable acts.

The speech Kapeliouk was quoting was held in front of Knesset so it is 100 percent certain that it still exists in writing and probably also in audio. Amnon Kapeliouk never retreated what he had written in that article. Camera could condemn that Master Race quote as false, but they do not do that. At least I did not find a page where they do it.

January 7th, 2011, 5:50 pm


Akbar Palace said:

Syria Comment’s extensive research capability NewZ

Well Akbar Amnon Kapeliouk was a very respected French-Israeli, Jewish journalist. He was also one of the founders of B’Tselem. He wrote to numerous respected newspapers, before and after this New Statesman article. It seems to be obvious that Kapeliouk did write that Begin quote published in New Statesman June 25, 1982, sadly they do not have so old numbers in internet.

Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amnon_Kapeliouk


I see you’re trying hard to convince me of some quotes made by Israeli politicians. Of course there have been numerous derogatory comments made by Israeli politicians against Arabs and Palestinians, but IMHO, they pale in comparison to the anti-semitic, government-controlled arab media.

But, as you have said, thuggish, anti-semitic arab governments are not YOUR interest. YOUR interest is only Israel in relation to “western” governments/democracies (as if western democracies never experienced racism; however, we Americans know better).

Camera was actually not denying that “Our race is the Master Race. We Jews are divine gods on this planet…” quote.


Don’t worry about so much about CAMERA. They do a good job. Just show me where the above quote came from.

The quote they are referring is about “beasts walking on two legs”. Camera is only in its famous “academic” style saying that Menachem Begin did not mean Palestinians he did mean “Terrorists, who target children in Israel”. They do not deny the quote. Well that is up to readers to decide who that old famous terrorist leader did mean. The man behind King David bombing, Deir Yassin and numerous other less honourable acts.

Actually CAMERA DID said Menanchem Begin “did not mean Palestinians”. CAMERA says:

…further investigation by CAMERA reveals that the actual speech upon which Kapeliouk based his quote, as well as news reports at the time demonstrate that the journalist distorted the quote, giving it a completely different tone and meaning. Begin was talking, not about “the Palestinians” but about terrorists who target children within Israel.

On June 8, 1982, Begin addressed the Knesset in response to a no-confidence motion over Israel’s invasion of Lebanon. He talked about defending the children of Israel, and according to a June 9, 1982 AP report, “his voice quaver[ed] with anger and sadness.” According to the minutes of the session, Begin stated:

The children of Israel will happily go to school and joyfully return home, just like the children in Washington, in Moscow, and in Peking, in Paris and in Rome, in Oslo, in Stockholm and in Copenhagen. The fate of… Jewish children has been different from all the children of the world throughout the generations. No more. We will defend our children. If the hand of any two-footed animal is raised against them, that hand will be cut off, and our children will grow up in joy in the homes of their parents.

Kapeliouk neither recanted nor apologized for his deception.


The speech Kapeliouk was quoting was held in front of Knesset so it is 100 percent certain that it still exists in writing and probably also in audio.

Yes, that is why CAMERA’s quote is different. CAMERA’s quote shows what Begin said on June 8, 1982, and he did NOT say anything about Arabs, Jews or Palestinians for that matter.

Amnon Kapeliouk never retreated what he had written in that article. Camera could condemn that Master Race quote as false, but they do not do that. At least I did not find a page where they do it.

I contend there is no “Master Race” quote. I contend that either you, Ghat, or some other anti-semite made it up just like the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion”.

It’s just a suggestion, but you and Ghat should do some research before you post “quotes” as facts. It looks rather stupid to make up stories just so you feel a little better.

January 7th, 2011, 6:34 pm


SimoHurtta said:

I contend there is no “Master Race” quote. I contend that either you, Ghat, or some other anti-semite made it up just like the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion”.

It’s just a suggestion, but you and Ghat should do some research before you post “quotes” as facts. It looks rather stupid to make up stories just so you feel a little better.

Akbar. First I did not bring up this “Master Race-we are Gods” quote. I only got interested about it when you begun to deny the quote. Secondly I did enough checking and “research” about the subject. Your “research” only mentions in reality what I did say.

1) It is obvious that the quote “Our race is the Master Race. We Jews are divine gods on this planet…” was published in the New Statesman. Camera does not deny that. Sadly I do not have the old number of New Statesman.

2) Is that “master race” quote true? With high probability it is because it is mentioned on numerous pages and because Camera or no other Israeli propaganda source doesn’t deny that quote now in question. Camera speaks about a completely different quote, obviously made in the same article. Also with that quote of which Camera speaks Camera can not deny the quote, it only says as their opinion (which is as much worth as Göbbels’ ministry defending a speech of lets say Herman Göring would have been) that Begin did not mean Palestinians. The Camera’s opinion seems to written in October 2004, 12 years after Begin had died. How do they in Camera know who Begin did mean?

Anyway the master race quote is said to be from a Knesset session so there the proof exists in written and audio form. I am 100 percent certain that Camera or a equal institution would have used that speech’s copy as a proof if the quote master race would be wrong. As said now they only speculate with a completely different quote what Begin would (or would not) have meant.

3) The views of the master race and we are gods “idea” are not rare among the religious and even less religious Jews. We can rather often read similar opinions expressed by Israeli (and Jewish) rabbis, politicians and other Jews. These views one fingernail worth one million Arabs and studies how it is legal to kill gentile children are not from the Middle Ages, they are from present days Israel.

Just some weeks ago a bunch of rabbis were demanding not to rent apartments to Arabs and some “worried” citizens demanded that Jewish women are not allowed to meet with Arabs. Imagine Akbar that equal views would be expressed in the West about Jews. If in Finland priests or even normal people would publicly demand such things they would have to face the police, court and possibly end in prison.

This blaming with this old “Protocols of the Elders of Zion” excuse is naive. Blame those numerous Israeli politicians, rabbis and others who express those kind of übermensch and racist “Taleban” (or should we say Zionist) opinions, not those who remind of those monstrous opinions. Akbar Arabs do not force you in Jerusalem and other places to separate women and men in buses and streets. You do it voluntarily.

January 8th, 2011, 5:36 am


Ghat Albird said:

The way the word game is played is as follows. Several statements by Jews and/or Israelis tend to be off beat and or misinterpreted, Still if such statements are made sui juris ” as having been made” the individual making such a statement is auto matically called an “antisemite” and is required to prove by references such statements.

The below is an exposition by an Israeli author specifically addressing this issue.

“Conflicts in Israeli society between adherents and opponents of Jewish fundamentalism rank among the most important issues in Israeli politics … Defenders of the “Jewish interest” often attack persons who write critically about Jews and/or Judaism … Some of these defenders, for example, attacked Seffi Rachlevsky after the publication of his best-selling book, Messiahs’ Donkeys. In his book, Rachlevsky correctly claimed that Rabbi Kook, the Elder, the revered father of the messianic tendency of Jewish fundamentalism (who is featured in our book), said “The difference between a Jewish soul and souls of non-Jews – all of them in all dlfferent levels – is greater and deeper than the difference between a human soul and the souls of cattle.”

The Rachlevsky detractors did not attempt to refute substantively the relevance of the Kook quotation. Rather, they argued that Rabbi Kook said other things and that Rachlevsky, by neglecting to mention them, had distorted the teachings of Rabbi Kook.

Rachlevsky pointed out that Rabbi Kook’s entire teaching was based upon the Lurianic Cabbala, the school of Jewish mysticism that dominated Judaism from the late sixteenth to the early nineteenth century.

One of the basic tenants of the Lurianic Cabbala is the absolute superiority of the Jewish soul and body over the non-Jewish soul and body. According to the Lurianic Cabbala, the world was created solely for the sake of Jews; the existence of non-Jews was subsidiary. If an influential Christian bishop or Islamic scholar argued that the difference between the superior souls of non-Jews and the inferior souls of Jews was greater than the difference between the human soul and the souls of cattle, he would incur the wrath of and be viewed as an anti-Semite by most Jewish scholars regardless of whatever less meaningful, positive statements he included. From this perspective the detractors of Rachlevsky are hypocrites……….

The author is Israel Shahak …may have mispelled last name.

January 8th, 2011, 9:17 am


Norman said:

This why we should all pull together for Syria, and to lift the American sanctions on Syria, the US should be proud to be associated with Syria and her government,

The Huffington Post January 8, 2011

Breaking News:Democratic Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords Shot And Killed In Arizona Get Breaking News by Email

This is the print preview: Back to normal view »
Sami MoubayedEditor-in-Chief, Forward Magazine

Posted: January 7, 2011 05:28 PM BIO Become a Fan Get Email Alerts Bloggers’ Index
The Alexandria Bombing: Could it Happen in Syria?

Read More: Al Qaeda , Al-Qaeda , Alexandria Bombing , Arab Christians , Bashar Al-Assad , Christianity , Christians In Syria , Christians In The Middle East , Damascus , Eastern Christianity , Egypt Bombing , New Years Bombing , Syria , Syrian Christianity , Syrian Religion , Terrorism , Religion News

The New Year’s suicide bombing of the Saints Church in Alexandria, Egypt, which killed 21 people, has raised red alarms throughout the Arab and Muslim world. The dirty work of al Qaeda, the attack came shortly after similar terrorism was unleashed on Iraqi Christians. World leaders have strongly condemned the attack, with President Barack Obama saying that the perpetrators “have no respect for human life and dignity” and must be brought to justice for this heinous and barbaric act.” Several journalists have since called me up for quotes on the Alexandria massacre, asking how Syrian Christians can shelter themselves from such a fate — given what happened in Egypt and what has been happening in Iraq since 2003. Iraqi Christians came to Syria after all, with horrible stories about how al Qaeda affiliates stormed their homes, killed their sons, beheaded their priests, insulted their notables, and bombed their churches.

My answer, which deserves elaboration, was always: “There is no Christian ‘problem’ in Syria, thanks to the wisdom of some Syrians and the secularism of the state, but there is a Christian fear of what the future might hold for the Christian community at large, if al Qaeda and its sister groups ever get an upper hand in the Middle East. As one Christian friend put it; “We are not afraid of our next door neighbor. We have lived with him in harmony for centuries. We are afraid from the stranger who comes from outside our community.”

This “stranger” is the Islamic fundamentalist. He does not have to be an armed fighter from Afghanistan or Pakistan. Theoretically he can be an indoctrinated Syrian living abroad, and the record of Syria’s Muslim Brotherhood is testimony to the fact that terrorists can be Syrian after all. So long as he thinks in anti-Christian terms, he is a stranger in Syria. And that is exactly why I was critical of Pope Benedict XVI when he made his famed speech in Germany back in September 2006, which was critical of the Prophet Mohammad. Did he not think of the Christians of the East? Even if his statement was unintentional, he should have thought about its repercussions on Arab Christians who live within the increasingly radical trend of Islamification, among fanatics who are waiting to strike at Arab Christians. This was made clear by the killing of an Italian nun in Somalia and the attack on churches in Nablus in Occupied Palestine. To these fundamentalists, the Pope’s statement was almost a blessing in disguise.

I have befriended Syrian Christians and proudly been educated by them since childhood. I know them well. They are highly patriotic, sober, hard-working, honest and law abiding citizens who are good with languages, clean, knowledgeable, and in general, well-educated. As far as my encounter with them goes, they are very good A-class citizens. Syria’s Christians are estimated at around 1.8 million of the total population of 23 million. Because of their long history in this part of the world, Syrian Christians feel that they are the original residents of Syria — which is true, because they were here long before the Muslim conquests. This feeling of belonging is particularly true with the Greek Orthodox community (503,000 members), which is the oldest in Syria, whose patriarch “for Antioch and All the East,” Ignatius IV Hazeem, is based in Damascus. Syrian Catholics, on the other hand, are estimated at 118,000. Among the larger Christian family one finds the Armenians, the Assyrians, the Protestants and the few Syrian Maronites. Ever since the republic was created in 1932, they have been treated as first-class citizens. Even under the Ottoman Era, they occupied senior posts in administration and government.

Over the past century, Christians became famous in all walks of life. Among the long list of politicians are men like ex-ministers Mikhael Ilyan and Tawfiq Shamiyya, officers like Wadih al-Muqabari (commander of the air force), Yusuf Shakkur (Chief of Staff during the October War of 1973), and current Chief of Staff Daoud Rajha. The list unravels, reaching academics like Constantine Zurayk, former president of Damascus University, and George Toemeh of the American University of Beirut (AUB), administrators like Hanna Malek, the former Attorney General, and writers like Hanna Mina and Colette Khury, a former MP and current advisor to President Bashar al-Assad. The Christians also worked with and joined the secular Baath Party of Michel Aflaq, who himself was a Christian, and received more senior office when the party came to power in 1963. The most famous of modern times was probably Fares al-Khury, one of the founding fathers of Syria’s independence who served as speaker of parliament and prime minister in the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s. Among his many feats, he co-established the Syrian Parliament, co-authored the Syrian Constitution, taught and chaired the Faculty of Law, and founded the Syndicate of Lawyers. He helped eject the French from Syria in 1946. When he died in 1962, Syria’s priests and Muslim clerics stood at his funeral, shoulder-to-shoulder, reading from both the Bible and Holy Quran.

An American writer Glan Chancy once wrote that Syria is “the best nation in the Middle East in which to live if you are a Christian.” Christian holidays like Christmas, New Year, and Easter, are officially celebrated in Syria, something that is not found in most other Arab countries, and according to Chancy: “On any given Sunday, more Christians are at worship in Syria than in such formerly Christian nations as England.” Yes this is true, but what if things change in Syria? What if the fundamentalists get the upper hand? Certainly the Christians will no longer be able to celebrate Christmas, nor will they feel free to express their religious affiliations — probably not even safe to attend Church. Syrian society and government feel that the day has not come where Syrian Christians, who have served the community at large for over 2,000 years and the modern nation since 1918, would be at fear in Syria. President Assad has made it clear that it is Syria’s role to say: Regardless of what the Islamists believe, say or do, Syria is for the Christians as much as it is for the Muslims. It is as much theirs as it is ours — regardless of what happened in Egypt, or is happening in Iraq.

When the Syrian Revolt was raging against the French in 1925, then High Commissioner Maurice Sarrail ordered withdrawal of his troops from the Christian quarters of Damascus, hoping that they would be stormed and looted by the Muslim rebels. A revolt leader, Hasan al-Kharrat, rushed to Bab Touma where he rushed into a Church and told the Priest, “The French have destroyed the Midan, Hamidyieh, and Bzurieh Bazaars. Father, I have come here to protect you.” Puzzled, the Priest asked, “Protect us? From whom? The day that Christians need protection to walk around in Syria has not come! Leave in peace, and take with you the finest young men of al-Qassa and Bab Touma. All of them are soldiers in the struggle for Syria’s independence.”

Had it not been for the wisdom of those Syrians, something similar to Alexandria 2011, would have long happened in Syria.

January 8th, 2011, 2:33 pm


Norman said:

Everybody should take note , not just the US ,

Syria’s Assad pushes ‘Four Seas Strategy’
Published: Jan. 6, 2011 at 12:44 PM

BEIRUT, Lebanon, Jan. 6 (UPI) — Syria, Iran’s Arab ally, is driving to build a grandiose new energy alliance across the Middle East and beyond aimed at thrusting the economically troubled state back into a regional leadership role.

President Bashar Assad calls his vision the Four Seas Strategy to link the Mediterranean, the Caspian Sea, the Black Sea and the Persian Gulf into an energy network.

This eastward-looking strategy is intersecting with China’s push westward in quest of oil, natural gas, raw materials and markets and converges on the Caspian, a major energy-producing zone.

“Given the rising instability of Middle East energy supplies, the Caspian Basin has emerged in prominence as an alternative resource for the world’s growing energy consumers,” says Christina Y. Lin, a visiting fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

The region, which lies between Iran and Russia, holds the world’s largest reservoir for oil and natural gas outside the Persian Gulf and Russia.

“The interplay of China’s growing footprint in the Caspian region via its modern Silk Road — reinforced by Syrian President Assad’s nascent ‘Four Seas Strategy’ — will have important implications for the United States, the European Union and other allies,” Lin wrote in a survey for the Jamestown Foundation, a Washington think tank.

China has been stepping up efforts to build strategic energy links with the Middle East, particularly Saudi Arabia, as U.S. influence in the region wanes.

In 2009, the kingdom exported more oil to China than it did to the United States, its traditional ally.

Beijing wants to build up political and military influence in the region as well, in part to protect the vulnerable sea lanes that carry gulf oil to China.

Chinese moves into the Caspian zone are “part of China’s overall Silk Road strategy to diversify energy dependence on the unstable Gulf region” — just as the Americans are doing — “and build overland routes to hedge against maritime supply disruptions from the gulf,” Lin wrote.

Assad’s ambitious strategy, which he unveiled in 2009, hinges heavily on Syria’s mushrooming relations with neighboring Turkey.

A decade ago the two countries were on the brink of war. Now, in a constantly changing geopolitical landscape, they are firm allies.

But Syria’s ramshackle economy has been flat-lining for years, with 10 percent unemployment and a crippling inflation rate of 14.5 percent.

So “Turkey has taken on a critical dimension,” said Webster Brooks of the Center for New Politics and Policy in Washington.

“At the center of Assad’s strategy is Syria’s economic relationship with Turkey and connecting the nation’s oil and gas infrastructure to the region’s expanding energy pipeline networks.”

To get the ball rolling, Ankara and Damascus plan to integrate their gas grids and link them with the Arab Gas Pipeline that starts in Egypt and serves Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and Turkey.

Plans to build a new AGP link between Syria and Turkey were signed in 2009, with completion expected this year.

“Assad’s enlarged vision of Syria’s role as a strategic energy transiting role is to link the nation’s oil and gas pipeline network to the Nabucco pipeline that will carry oil from the Caspian Sea to Turkey and on to Europe,” Brooks observed.

Assad signed a free trade agreement with Turkey in 2007 and trade is expected to hit $5 billion a year by 2012. He has also signed agreements with Armenia and Azerbaijan.

Assad has also revived negotiations with Syria’s eastern neighbor, Iraq, which is driving to challenge Saudi Arabia as the top oil producer, to reopen an oil pipeline running from Kirkuk to Syria’s Mediterranean port of Banias.

That pipeline, with a capacity of 200,000 barrels per day, was closed in 1979 when Syria and Iraq were feuding. Syria wants to build a second pipeline, with a 1.4 million bpd capacity.

Despite Syria’s economic weakness and the hostility of the United States, Assad, through his alliance with Iran, has been able to revive Damascus’ political clout in recent years and to restore its supremacy in Lebanon after a decade if decline.

Assad faces an uphill struggle for his ambitious economic strategy but as Iraq’s formidable energy resources come into play they will enhance his vision.

“The Obama administration should open its eyes and take not of the rising tide between the four seas,” said Brooks.

© 2011 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Read more: http://www.upi.com/Science_News/Resource-Wars/2011/01/06/Syrias-Assad-pushes-Four-Seas-Strategy/UPI-98471294335880/print/#ixzz1ATyJevJM

January 8th, 2011, 4:43 pm


Yossi said:

I found the minutes of that Knesset meeting from June 8th, 1982. They are here:


The quote about the master race is accurate, as well as discussions that were held on the same day on how to harvest the blood of the Arabs casualties for making matzos for Passover.

January 8th, 2011, 10:51 pm


Norman said:


You are amazing .

January 9th, 2011, 12:44 am


Shai said:

Yossi, Norman,

Discussions in Knesset went further, discussing another option of using the blood already in Hannukah, so as not to keep it refrigerated until Passover.

Menachem Begin opposed it (as expected), saying it would be “inhumane” for Jewish soldiers not to have Arab blood in their matzos on Passover.

His wife Aliza died just 5 months later…

January 9th, 2011, 12:46 am


Ziad said:

Yossi & Shai

Is that a joke?

January 9th, 2011, 9:20 am


Akbar Palace said:

Double-Standard NewZ

Iran targets Christians with wave of arrests:


January 9th, 2011, 11:35 am


Ghat Albird said:

A street in Tehran to be named after Rachel Corrie

Tehran City Councilor Masoumeh Abad announced on Wednesday that one of Tehran’s streets will be named after Rachel Corrie.

Talking to the Fars news agency, Abad said ten universities of Tehran city have requested the council to name one of the capital’s streets Rachel Corrie.

She added that Tehran City Council examined the request and agreed to it and one street will be named after Rachel Corrie in the near future.

Rachel Aliene Corrie (April 10, 1979 – March 16, 2003) was an American member of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM).

She was crushed to death in the Gaza Strip by an Israel Defense Forces (IDF) bulldozer when she was kneeling in front of a local Palestinian’s home, thus acting as a human shield, attempting to prevent IDF forces from demolishing the home.

The IDF stated that the death was due to the restricted angle of view of the IDF Caterpillar D9 bulldozer driver, while ISM eyewitnesses said “there was nothing to obscure the driver’s view.

January 9th, 2011, 12:33 pm


Shai said:


Of course it’s a joke.


So touching, this Iranian decision to name a street after a human-rights activist that was killed by the IDF.

I wonder how many streets in Iran are named after Iranian human-rights activists, journalists, homosexuals, that have fared no differently, not by the IDF this time, but by the Iranian regime itself.

Iran – “Because The Fight For Human Rights Must Go On!”

Gimme a break…

January 9th, 2011, 2:02 pm


norman said:

Syria beat KSA 2/1 in soccer

January 9th, 2011, 4:12 pm


Ghat Albird said:

SHAI said


” So touching, this Iranian decision to name a street after a human-rights activist that was killed by the IDF.”

You are right thats not as touching as this account from Ria Novosti.

Israeli Army servicemen shot at and killed a 65-year old paralyzed Palestinian man in Hebron, in the West Bank, earlier today, as they arrested the man’s neighbour who was released from a Palestinian prison yesterday.

This comes in a report by the RIA-Novosti news agency with reference to the son of the killed man.

The Israeli Army officers have so far refrained from offering any comment on the incident.

Earlier today the Israeli military arrested the six HAMAS members who were set free from a Palestinian prison yesterday on orders from the Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas.

Мне нравится

January 9th, 2011, 4:46 pm


Akbar Palace said:

Defamation, or Yossi’s Unqualified Joke NewZ

The quote about the master race is accurate, as well as discussions that were held on the same day on how to harvest the blood of the Arabs casualties for making matzos for Passover.


Thank you for posting the Knesset transcript in question. That saves us a lot of time.

Just to recap, there were two quotes posting around the web and on this website (above) purporting the following was uttered by the late Prime Minister of Israel, Menachem Begin:

From Sim’s Post 64:

Camera was actually not denying that “Our race is the Master Race. We Jews are divine gods on this planet…” quote. The quote they are referring is about “beasts walking on two legs”.

Or better yet the Begin Center:

“Our race is the Master Race. We are divine gods on this planet. We are as different from the inferior races as they are from insects. In fact, compared to our race, other races are beasts and animals, cattle at best. Other races are considered as human excrement. Our destiny is to rule over the inferior races. Our earthly kingdom will be ruled by our leader with a rod of iron. The masses will lick our feet and serve us as our slaves.”


…attribute the derogation of Palestinians as “two-legged beasts” to former Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin.

Unfortunately Yossi, after reviewing the transcript you linked to, I did not find anything remotely close to the above quotes. Therefore, could you please tell us which of Menachem Begin’s 9 or 10 comments from your linked transcript is the comment where he uttered the words in question?



PS – If you have any additional time, please also show us where it was discussed “…how to harvest the blood of the Arabs casualties for making matzos for Passover.” Apparently not everyone here knows if you are joking or not:

Post 72:

Yossi, You are amazing .

Post 74

Yossi & Shai Is that a joke?

January 9th, 2011, 5:02 pm


Yossi said:

OK… basically the CAMERA explanation is accurate. This is an important historic document, not only because of Begin’s speech but also because of the opposition charges against the war that were brought against the government. To provide some context, this was a motion of lack of confidence in the government, brought forward by the Arab-Jewish party the front for democracy and peace, early incarnation of HADASH, due to Israel’s invasion of Lebanon. The motion was rejected 94 to 3.

This is the passage in question:

אני רוצה להודיע באוזני כל העמים: ילדי ישראל ילכו לבית-הספר בשמחה וישובו לבתיהם ברינה, בדיוק כמו הילדים בוושינגטון, במוסקבה ובפקין, כמו בפריס ובלונדון וברומא, כמו באוסלו, בשטוקהולם ובקופנהגן. גורלם של מיליון וחצי מיליון ילדים יהודים היה שונה מגורלם של כל ילדי תבל בכל הדורות. לא עוד. אנחנו נגן על הילדים שלנו. אם תורם יד של חיה דו-רגלית עליהם, תיגדע היד הזאת, וילדינו יגדלו בשמחה בבית הוריהם.

My translation is: “I would like to inform all nations: the children of Israel shall go to school merrily and return joyous, just like the children of Washington, Moscow and Peking, like in Paris and London and Rome, like in Oslo, Stockholm and Copenhagen. The fate of a million and a half Jewish children has been [so far] different from the fate of all children of our world in all generations. Not anymore. If the hand of a two-legged animal would be raised on them, that hand shall be cut off, and our children will grow happily in the houses of their parents.”

The context for the references to going merrily to school, and safely back home etc. is the Katyusha shelling of the north of Israel which has forced many of these children to spend significant time in shelters and develop fears of going outside. The enemy Begin is talking about is specifically the Fatah in Lebanon, although it is possible to claim that when he said “two-legged animal” he was referring to Palestinians, or Arabs, or some other wider group, it is less likely that this is what he meant. The speech was attacked as disingenuous since the period before the invasion was relatively calm. And the “two-legged animals” comment stuck for posterity.

Anyway, none of the racist accusations about Begin talking about the Jews as a master race was uttered, and as far as I know, this was an impossibility with Begin. He didn’t believe in this stuff at all. On the contrary even in this speech you can find that what he asks for is to treat the Jews the same as other peoples:

ושוב, רציתי לומר באוזני כל העמים, זמן רב – רב מדי – היה היהודי יוצא מן הכלל של כל החוקים שחלו על כל האומות. לא עוד. החוקים החלים על אומות אחרות יחולו על עמנו, על העם היהודי. הזכות להגנה עצמית, הנתונה לכל העמים, נתונה גם לנו; לא יותר ולא פחות.

“And again, I wanted to tell all nations, for a long time—far too long—the Jew has been an exception to the rule which were applicable to all nations. Not anymore. The rules applicable to other nations shall apply to our nation as well, the Jewish nation. The right of self-defense, given to all peoples, is given to us too; not more or less.”

January 9th, 2011, 9:05 pm


Alex said:


You want to read this article from today’s Assafir about Saudi Syrian relations:



“If the hand of a two-legged animal (beast) would be raised on them, that hand shall be cut off”
Menachem Begin, 8 June 1982

“We will cut off the Israeli hand that reaches out to (attack) the Lebanese army”
Nasrallah, August4, 2010

Our Nasrallah’s hand cutting threats are more proper than your Begin : )

January 9th, 2011, 11:59 pm


Yossi said:


That’s the “beauty” of the middle east, that whatever goes around, comes around, 30 years, 60 years or a 100 years later.

January 10th, 2011, 12:10 am


Shai said:

Ghat said:

“You are right thats not as touching as this account from Ria Novosti.”

Nor as touching as this description by Amnesty International about Iran, a nation which I understand you’re hesitating to condemn for its treatment of its own citizens, highlighting instead its impressive street-naming activities:


January 10th, 2011, 4:51 am


Akbar Palace said:

No Joke


Thank you for the clarification. In your Post 71, you claimed “the quote about the master race is accurate…”; now we know you were just kidding.

In short:

1.) There was NEVER a comment about a “master race” uttered by PM Begin. And,

2.) Begin was referring not to “the Palestinians” in a general sense but very specifically, he was referring to terrorists who target children within Israel…. (Begin Center’s opinion)

I agree with their opinion. I disagree with your opinion that:

The enemy Begin is talking about is specifically the Fatah in Lebanon, although it is possible to claim that when he said “two-legged animal” he was referring to Palestinians, or Arabs, or some other wider group, it is less likely that this is what he meant.

You have no basis to say Begin meant Fatah, Palestinians, Arabs, or green people with polka dots. Clearly, Begin was referring to terrorists. Samir Kuntar would be an excellent example of such an animal:


As the Begin Center explained:

French-Israeli journalist, Amnon Kapeliouk, did attribute such a quote to Begin in his New Statesman article criticizing Israel’s invasion of Lebanon. The author posited:

“For this reason the government has gone to extraordinary lengths to dehumanize the Palestinians. Begin described them in a speech in the Knesset as “beasts walking on two legs.”

Basically, Amnon Kapeliouk distorted Begin’s words and participants here like you, Sim and Ghat are more than happy to buy into it.

The funny thing is, when blatant anti-semitism is expressed by Arab leaders, here, on Syria Comment, they get a “Get Out of Jail Free Card”. Sim even admits to holding Israel to a different standard than Arab states.



January 10th, 2011, 7:21 am


Ghat Albird said:


The petultimate touching scenes shown around the world.



January 10th, 2011, 12:39 pm


Akbar Palace said:


Thank you for the post. It’s really horrible how the Zionist’s teach their children despite the numerous pro-Arab/Palestinian organizations located in Israel.




January 10th, 2011, 1:24 pm


Shai said:


I think by now you know how I feel about these things, especially when coming from Israel.

What I don’t know, by now, is how YOU feel about these things, when they take place in Muslim nations, such as Iran, and in the Arab World.

January 10th, 2011, 3:28 pm


Yossi said:

Akbar, this is really just nitpicking on my behalf, I hate to correct you on this because overall I’m definitely on your side in this debate. But for the sake of intellectual honesty (that your anti-Semitic interlocutors here don’t demonstrate), I think Begin did refer to Fatah terrorists but if you’d like to understand how it could be construed differently then there you go:

The sentence is phrased as “If an X does Y then it will get Z”.


X = “two-legged animal”
Y = “raise its hand on our children”
Z = “its hand will be cut off”

So this begs the question, are there X’s which do not do Y, and what’s their identity?

He could have made it clearer by saying “those who do Y are X”. But he didn’t and we don’t know why.

The morale of the story: unnecessarily blistering rhetoric will likely come to haunt you.

January 10th, 2011, 4:59 pm


Akbar Palace said:

Haya Khiya


Thank you for the clarification. I was a bit worried about your “joke”, and I think some of the participants here were not convinced you were “definitely on [my] side in this debate”.

I’m afraid if did not challenge this, the forum would have continued to misinterpret your response.

So using your own translation (Post 81), clearly Begin was specifically general about the “two-legged beast/animal”.

The reporter in question thought that meant any Palestinian. You claim Begin meant “Fatah terrorists”. I (and the Begin Center) believe is was meant for ANY terrorist. We’ll just have to agree to disagree on the interpretation then. But your translation is fine.

And just to “make nice”, as I’ve said before, there have been enough Israeli racist comments to my liking, and they aren’t hard to find.


I appreciate your last post. Thanks.

January 10th, 2011, 6:38 pm


Norman said:

Thanks Alex, I still think that what King Abdullah is doing is tactical not strategic alliance with Syria , He is trying to save Hariri ,knowing that without Syria Hariri and company are going to be finished , Hezbollah will not not be defeated without a fight that he will not lose,

January 10th, 2011, 9:14 pm


norman said:

May GOD Help Lebanon ,

Saudi and Syria fail to reach Lebanon deal: Aoun

10:52am EST
BEIRUT (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia and Syria have failed to reach a deal aimed at curbing political tension in Lebanon over the 2005 killing of Rafik al-Hariri, Lebanese Christian politician Michel Aoun said on Tuesday.

Saudi Arabia and Syria, powerful regional players who have traditionally backed rival camps in Lebanon, have worked since July to forge a compromise which would curb tensions over the U.N.-backed tribunal investigating Hariri’s killing.

The Saudi and Syrian initiative “has ended without a result,” Aoun told a televised news conference.

Diplomats expect members of the Shi’ite militant group Hezbollah to be named in draft indictments which the tribunal’s prosecutor is likely to send to a pre-trial judge this month.

Hezbollah, which has ministers in the unity government led by Rafik Hariri’s son, Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri, has denied any involvement in the killing and urged Saad Hariri to renounce the investigation.

Aoun, a political ally of Hezbollah, blamed supporters of Saad Hariri for the failure to reach agreement. “Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri’s team has not responded to the (Saudi and Syrian) efforts and we have reached a dead end,” he said.

Aoun called for a meeting of opposition ministers later on Tuesday to discuss the stalemate.

(Reporting by Dominic Evans; editing by Ralph Boulton)

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January 11th, 2011, 11:39 am


Ghat Albird said:

NORMAN This is what the Daily Star reported this morning.

March 8 demands cabinet meeting to end Lebanon’s cooperation with the Tribunal

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

BEIRUT: The March 8 coalition called Tuesday on President Michel Sleiman to coordinate a government meeting with Prime Minister Saad Hariri by Wednesday to endorse steps to confront the UN-backed tribunal, coalition sources told The Daily Star.

The source said ministers loyal to the March 8 coalition would withdraw from the Cabinet if it fails to meet and halt its cooperation with the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, decides on the withdrawal of Lebanese judges and end Lebanon’s funding of the court. March 8 ministers were meeting to coordinate their next move.

A defining moment for all concerned. Looks like its US/Israel versus Syria, SA as well as Iran. The die as the saying goes is cast.

January 11th, 2011, 1:45 pm


Alex said:

Norman, Ghat Albird

The status quo is a thing of the past, life in the Middle East can not be as stable as it used to be decades ago … the Middle East conflict will be settled within 5 years, … Right wing Israelis and their American allies (and agents/puppets) can resist all they want, but the 67 border will be the end product a few years form now.

Before that, there will be violence … until all are convinced there is no other way.

January 11th, 2011, 3:35 pm


norman said:

Hey Alex ,
Did the holly ghost show up and tell you all that

January 11th, 2011, 4:49 pm


Alex said:

No. But I was bored and felt like writing something dramatic : )

January 11th, 2011, 6:11 pm


Norman said:

Alex ,

I Hope that you are right and things will change , without war , i doubt it though ,

January 11th, 2011, 9:33 pm


Akbar Palace said:


The 67 borders did not include the Old City, and therefore, is a thing of the past. At best, Israel will share the city, but this depends on the depth of whatever peace the PA is willing
to discuss.

From the posts on this website, it seems to me the STL is the issue du jour.

January 11th, 2011, 11:25 pm


norman said:


We Syrians know that Israel does not want to give us the Golan back so this good Syrian player does not join the Syrian national team and stay in Israel to play with your national one ,
As usual you never want anything good for Syria,

January 12th, 2011, 1:39 pm


Shai said:


I’m not much of a soccer fan (except for every 4 years, during the World Cup), so I don’t know much about this Syrian player. What I understand from Alon Liel’s message, is that we know that this player is a proud Syrian, and not Israeli, and the fact that he plays on our soccer leagues does not indicate he’ll always play for Israel. This is what he has available to him today. You can’t blame him.

Unfortunately, Israel and Syria still consider each other enemies. I can’t expect Israelis to “want anything good for Syria”, just as I can’t expect Syrians to “want anything good for Israel”. As usual (and like anywhere else in Life), very few are visionaries, who have the foresight to see beyond our current state, and to recognize that Peace is possible.

From my point of view, this Syrian player can, 20 years from now, coach the UME team to the World Cup, that will consist of Syrians, Lebanese, Iraqis, Palestinians, Israelis, and Iranians. 🙂

January 12th, 2011, 3:04 pm


Ghat Albird said:


After reading your #100 could not let the opportunity to pass to remind you and others of the mentality of the individual you naively hope will return back the
Golan. According to Anon, “whats taken by force can only be retaken by force”.

“Israel should have exploited the repression of the demonstrations in China, when world attention focused on that country, to carry out mass expulsions among the Arabs of the territories.”– Benyamin Netanyahu, then Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister, former Prime Minister of Israel, speaking to students at Bar Ilan University, from the Israeli journal Hotam, November 24, 1989

January 12th, 2011, 4:45 pm


Shai said:


I wonder if Ghat is as concerned about “the mentality of the individual” we peace-seeking Israelis are “naively hoping will (receive) back the Golan”.

“The Matzah Of Zion was written by the Syrian Defense Minister, Mustafa Tlass in 1986. The book concentrates on two issues: renewed ritual murder accusations against the Jews in the Damascus affair of 1840, and The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.[27] The book was cited at a United Nations conference in 1991 by a Syrian delegate.”


January 12th, 2011, 5:18 pm


Norman said:

Shai, Ghat,
If the German and Jews can be Friends after all what happened in Europe i do not see any reason why the only semitic people, Arabs and Jews can not be Friends , They just have to show each other that they care about each other , and that is not that difficult ,

We should look toward the future not the past , the children of the Mideast either will be grateful to us or hate our guts for not doing enough to solve the problem for them ,

January 12th, 2011, 8:16 pm


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